Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, ‘Get Out’: Film sends message of cultural appropriation

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‘Get Out’ is Jordan Peele’s debut film as a director (Photo courtesy of Trailer Addict).

Allie Rosen

Comedian Jordan Peele’s directorial debut film “Get Out” is no laughing matter.

The film tells the story of Brooklyn-based photographer Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his trip to the estate of his girlfriend’s parents, who live in a predominately white upper-class cul-de-sac. Chris begins to worry when he learns that his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), has yet to tell her parents that Chris is black. While Rose reassures him that her parents are not racists, she warns that they will likely still embarrass her. The two arrive at the home and are greeted by her parents, Dean (Bradley Whitford) and Missy Armitage (Catherine Keener). Although Rose’s parents appear to welcome and embrace the couple, something remains off.

At the center of “Get Out” is its message of cultural appropriation. While this message is achieved in a very unique way, its execution is unequivocal and – at times – predictable. While viewing the trailer contributed to this, the overarching message could lead the viewer to speculate and ultimately figure out what would happen.

“Get Out” tilts along the fine line between horror and thriller, which it accomplished very well. When considering the film a horror – as it is marketed – it ends up being lack luster. Some of the scares are well-deserved and clever, but most do not reach the psychological heights of films like “The Conjuring.” But the film does truly succeed as a thriller. Similar to this year’s film “Split,” this movie is short, compact and very realistic at times. For this reason, it will appeal to a significantly wider audiences than recent horror movie “A Cure For Wellness.”

Williams and Kaluuya both do an okay job in their roles, but the standout acting comes from Keener and Whitford. Keener, who also had roles in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Captain Phillips,” is fairly new to the horror world and manages to excellently portray a frighteningly empathetic mother whom audience members will hesitate to trust. Whitford, who had a role in “Cabin in the Woods,” is terrifyingly realistic. While Kaluuya’s overall acting may not have been outstanding, he was exceptional in embodying fear. Kaluuya plays against the stereotypical expression of dread by instead being silent and expressing it through his eyes and facial expressions. Through these subtle techniques, Kaluuya creates a fear that transfers through to the audience.

The absolute best aspect of “Get Out” is Peele’s direction. Coming from a comedy background, Peele is surprisingly stunning in the way he sets the scenes and puts purpose behind every single shot. He balances the characters’ believability against the film’s many supernatural elements. In his first film, Peele proves himself as an incredible director and excites audiences for his future work.

“Get Out” is a fantastic achievement in genre film-making. Yet the early praise the film got increased expectations, making it a let down. While Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 99 percent rating, it does not in any way deserve the same rating as Academy-Award winning film “Moonlight.” Still, “Get Out” is worth seeing.

“Get Out” receives a 15/20.